Data Privacy Predictions for 2022

Data Security
January 4, 2022

Data Privacy Predictions for 2022

The last two years have seen a significant shift in the data privacy environment. With most interactions and transactions shifting online, countless gigabytes of private information end up on cloud, on-site, and third-party systems. As we share more information online and data becomes digitized, the need to prioritize data privacy takes center stage. 

There has been a handful of developments globally, with many countries reviewing data privacy bills, as seen with the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other laws. But even with this significant momentum on data privacy legislation, some state-level data privacy bills and amendments remain in limbo in the U.S. 

The pace at which regulatory action is taken on the national level by signing bills into law lags far behind the tech market movements. Advertising industry groups and tech companies like Google and Apple are setting their own ground rules and standards for consumer data privacy. Businesses should aim at processing personal data while still protecting an individual’s preference for privacy.

What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy entails the proper handling and protection of sensitive data. It centers around the collection, storage, management, sharing of data with 3rd parties, and compliance with all applicable privacy laws. Data privacy works together with data security to create a protection area with protected usable data with a focus on the rights of an individual.

Data privacy is comprised of three elements:

  • Compliance with applicable data protection laws.
  • Right of an individual to retain control over their personal information including their data being left alone or forgotten. 
  • Proper collecting, handling, processing, and sharing procedures for personal data.

In a global effort to create awareness around the importance of data privacy, January 28th was set aside to be observed as the Data Privacy Day. These efforts highlight some easy ways that people can protect their personal information while also reminding organizations that data privacy is good for business. 

In summary, the digital world calls for the increased protection of personal data, both at a personal and professional level. With data being the most important asset that a business owns, maintaining transparency in requesting consent to keep personal data from customers, upholding privacy policies, and managing collected data is necessary for building good customer relations. Regulatory compliance in managing this data is even more critical, and non-compliance can lead to huge fines. 

5 Data Privacy Predictions for 2022

1. AI and Machine Learning to Drive Data Protection Initiatives

The global COVID-19 pandemic saw the world suddenly shift in the way people interact and do business. The changes came with the adoption of a hybrid working trend and an explosion of data processing. There was a meteoric rise in the number of ransomware attacks across all industry sectors in the same measure. Enterprises will adapt to these changes in 2021, with data protection a major priority. 

AI and Machine Learning will form a major driving factor in combating ransomware and helping the IT teams. As generative IT gains momentum, a new category of data is created, pushing businesses to figure out how to store, manage and protect it. Hackers have introduced threats that can adapt automatically, avoiding detection. 

We expect that in 2022, organizations will respond by securing their infrastructures and protecting data using AI and ML, tools that are continually learning and improving a lot faster than humans on their own. We expect that they will also incorporate the use of behavior analytics and biometrics as they seek to fight online fraud and phishing.

We should highlight that even as the use of AI and ML gets widely adopted, there is a hot debate on AI regulation. There is a concern that many companies, especially in social media, focus on collecting personal data. The EU has a draft on AI regulation, and we expect more countries to head that way. Compliance should demand to know what data such companies have, where it is, who has access, and what they are allowed to do with that data.

2. More States Will Pass Privacy-Focused Legislation

Pressure has been mounting for countries and states to enact comprehensive legislation on data privacy, which is expected to continue into 2022. There has been an increased focus to regulate data protection and privacy, which saw the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). California has also enhanced privacy rights and consumer protection through the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). We expect other states and nations to follow suit.

The SEC (U.S Security and Exchange Commission) has been strict with enforcement actions on cybersecurity disclosure controls. PSEC-registered financial services providers and public companies with deficiencies in the controls and procedures of cybersecurity disclosures have had to face enforcement actions from SEC. This scrutiny by SEC comes when ransomware attacks have been on the rise, and cybercriminals are exploiting the hybrid work environment. We expect that SEC will continue with this tough trend into the future.

3. Increased Cybersecurity Insurance Premiums 

The cyber threats landscape has become quite complex today. This means that the requirements for cybersecurity coverage and threat mitigation actions for organizations will also expand. The prediction is that companies will adopt automated solutions to adapt to the threat landscape and alleviate the pressure of staffing shortages. There will also be a surge in demand for one-stop-shop platforms that offer cybersecurity services.

In the coming year, expect cybersecurity insurance companies to get more hands-on with the necessary security requirements and review applications with unprecedented scrutiny. It is also highly likely that the insurers will impose more requirements and see the premiums skyrocket while offering discounts to companies that have implemented certain technologies and policies.

4. 2022 Will Focus on Security Cleanup

The COVID-19 pandemic saw many organizations forced to transform their business overnight. For many the shift required business owners to devote all their attention to keep their operation up and running, even as employees transitioned to remote work. As organizations sought to make accurate and timely decisions, they invested in expanded data and analytics environments. This saw organizations deploy new technologies in volumes to sustain operations, a move that left some security concerns unattended.

The rush for digital transformation amidst the pandemic left information security officers with huge data messes to clean up, even as they mitigate the new risks posed by the hybrid or fully-virtual work environment. The cleanup can only be as fast, lest we end up with security fallout situations from issues related to excessive access rights, shadow IT, or cloud misconfigurations. 2022 looks like it will be the year that IT personnel focuses on data security cleanup and streamlining.

5. Organizations will build secure, reliable applications

It is impossible for an organization to only focus on either security or observability in applications if they are looking to succeed; they have to deliver both. Customers will not use an application that is secure but not reliable; neither will they use one that is reliable but not secure. Developers will have to raise the bar with the apps to meet customer expectations.

When customers use an app, the assumption is that it is reliable and that their information is secure. They also expect that it will always work and efficiently whenever they need to use it. The distinction between what the customers use and what they reject is as simple as how reliable and secure it is.

6. Focus on Zero Trust

Throughout 2022, we expect that the incorporation of data security into the Zero Trust architecture to skyrocket. The security concept applied in accessing networks, servers, and devices calls for not trusting any device, application, user, or service with access to one's data. It is an integral solution in preventing those cyber-attacks and damaging data breaches. Recent times have seen an escalation in data leaks and ransomware attacks, and hardening defenses against future attacks is critical.

We anticipate that organizations will invest in cybersecurity measures that will harden their defenses against high-profile ransomware incidents, especially those associated with a hybrid or remote work environment. For starters, organizations need to get the basics of cyber hygiene right, like authorization and identification.

It is okay for organizations to focus on chasing new technologies to enhance their cybersecurity posture. However, cyber resilience requires more than getting the product and fundamentals right. It is necessary for people also to apply resilience when faced with a cyberattack, with fast response and mitigation remaining critical. Zero Trust data protection remains the first line of defense against any unauthorized exfiltration and data access.

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